What is the difference between IBS and IBD?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often mixed up, but they are not the same condition. IBS is a functional disorder (abnormal function of the bowel) that results in a group of different symptoms, but it’s not a disease itself. IBS does not cause inflammation, intestinal bleeding, ulcers, rectal bleeding, and/or permanent damage to the intestines.

The causes of IBS are currently unknown, but it is a chronic condition that needs to be managed on the long term. In many cases, the symptoms can be controlled by managing diet, lifestyle and stress.

Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Bloating
  • Gassiness
  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Altered bowel habits (alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation)

Females might experience that symptoms of irritable IBS may worsen during their menstruation.

There are different dietary approaches for patients with IBS and a qualified dietitian or nutritionist will help you to find the best method for you and guide you through the process of adapting your diet:

  1. High-fiber diet
  2. Low-fiber diet
  3. Gluten-free diet
  4. Elimination diet
  5. Low-fat diet
  6. Low FODMAP diet

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may have similar symptoms, but IBD is more serious than IBS. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe disorders that involves chronic inflammation of your digestive tract.

Types of IBD are:

  1. Ulcerative Colitis
  2. Crohn’s Disease

Ulcerative Colitis causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the deepest lining of your large intestine and rectum. Crohn’s Disease on the other hand can affect different areas of the digestive tract and is also characterized by inflammation of the lining of the bowl tissue, which often spreads deep into affected tissue layers.

Symptoms of IBD vary depending on the location and severity of inflammation, but they may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss and anemia

Patients with Crohn’s Disease may get sores in their mouths.

IBD can also be associated with problems outside of the digestive system, such as:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Skin disorders
  • Arthritis

There is no special diet that is recommended for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but some patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis manage symptoms with dietary changes and a low-residue or low-fiber diet that includes:

  • Eating smaller and more frequent meals
  • Taking vitamins and other nutritional supplements
  • Avoiding problem or trigger foods such as fatty and fried foods, meats, spicy foods, diary, and high fiber foods as these often lead to symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain and cramps.

IBD are serious conditions that require medical attention. In addition to the medical treatment provided by doctors (medical or surgical treatment), a dietitian or nutritionist can help with dietary changes. Speak to one of our dietitians today to find the most suitable approach for you and find the right dietary approach to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

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